ACCESS TO THOMAS LAKE TRAILHEAD???

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Thomas M
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ACCESS TO THOMAS LAKE TRAILHEAD???

Post by Thomas M » May 4th, 2022, 2:45 pm

May 4, 2022

How is the access to the Thomas Lake Trailhead in Indian Heaven Wilderness these days?? I'm concerned about a washout on Road 65 somewhere near the Falls Creek Horse Camp/Falls Creek area. Low Rider Jetta!!!
NF Road 6507, off of Wind River Rd/Meadow Creek Road is an alternative. It's only about 4 miles from the highway to very near the Thomas Lake Trailhead.
Any comments on this would be appreciated. Of course, the roads may still be snow covered. Indian Heaven beckons.

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adamschneider
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Re: ACCESS TO THOMAS LAKE TRAILHEAD???

Post by adamschneider » May 4th, 2022, 4:04 pm

I went there last fall using the official detour, and it was fine.

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drm
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Re: ACCESS TO THOMAS LAKE TRAILHEAD???

Post by drm » May 5th, 2022, 7:55 am

The detour is actually faster if coming from the south up the Wind River Rd than driving for miles all the way up Rd 65.

The damaged spot has been there for years and varies from not so bad to pretty bad in any given year. Given our wet spring, there is a good chance that at least initially it will be serious high clearance - which means no Subaru.

In recent years we have sometimes had access to the Thomas Lake trailhead later in May, but that looks unlikely this year unless we have a serious heat wave pretty soon.

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Thomas M
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Re: ACCESS TO THOMAS LAKE TRAILHEAD???

Post by Thomas M » May 6th, 2022, 9:32 am

I've been stuck in a rut for decades using Road 65 to access Thomas Lake TH. No more.
It's about 19 miles up the Wind River Road to Road 6507 and then 4.6 miles to Road 65 then
a left turn a short distance to the trail head parking.
Is this what you refer to as the "detour"?? Any problems with Road 6507 other than snow??

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adamschneider
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Re: ACCESS TO THOMAS LAKE TRAILHEAD???

Post by adamschneider » May 6th, 2022, 2:33 pm

Thomas M wrote:
May 6th, 2022, 9:32 am
It's about 19 miles up the Wind River Road to Road 6507 and then 4.6 miles to Road 65 then
a left turn a short distance to the trail head parking.
Is this what you refer to as the "detour"?? Any problems with Road 6507 other than snow??
Yup, that's the detour. FR 6507 is just fine. The only drawback is you can't make a pit stop at Panther Creek Falls on the way.

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drm
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Re: ACCESS TO THOMAS LAKE TRAILHEAD???

Post by drm » May 7th, 2022, 10:18 am

Rd 6507 should have been the main recommended access route all along. Aside from a stop at Panther Ck Falls, which you could just do one direction, the only reason to take Rd 65 is if you are driving the 60 road over from Trout Lake. Which the people who make these decisions always are since that's where the RS is.

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BigBear
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Re: ACCESS TO THOMAS LAKE TRAILHEAD???

Post by BigBear » May 10th, 2022, 5:45 pm

Until circa 1990, the preferred access to Thomas Lake TH was Road 65 from the north side. It also made for a great (very short) car shuttle between Placid Lake TH and Thomas Lake TH. Then someone with a really heavy vehicle, according the USFS, drove over the bridge that spans Rush Creek, and the bridge broke. And that was the end of the preferred route. Keeping with the philosophy that the 2-digit road numbers are maintained since they are the primary fire roads (4-digit roads are secondary and 3-digit roads are dead-end spurs), Road 65 from the south continued to be the recommended access. But yes, Rd 6507 is a faster route because you stay on the straight/ paved Wind River Highway longer instead of the curvy Rd 65 making its way up Panther Creek.

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